by Sara Darling

Just footsteps away from Harrods, is the atmospheric, yet unassuming Maia restaurant. I visited on a freezing Tuesday in January after a tough day trotting around on appointments, and even though I arrived before my guest, I was welcomed with open arms, as the staff made sure I didn’t feel like a loner.

With a comprehensive drinks list filled with plenty Italian and French offerings, I whiled away some time perusing the offerings, and opted for the intriguing Balsamic Martini, which was refreshing to say the least! Other classics were available, but I  thought the tartness of the vinegar would kick start my taste buds, and it certainly did!

When my friend arrived, we had a lot to catch up on- therefore it took us quite a while to choose our food, but there was never any pressure to make our decision. The menu (and daily specials) all sounded appetizing to us as pescitarians, so it was a tough decision not to over order. However, avocados make me very happy, and the Avo Crab Smash, was a perfect combo of avocado, crab and extra virgin olive oil served on toasted gluten free brown bread as a delicious appetizer.

My guest was fantasising about fish, and tried the generous portion of deep fried calamari with spicy mayo and jalapeño for starters, followed by the Mediterranean sea bass fillet with an extra portion of the most delicious chunky chips known to mankind!

With Head Ched Maura Di Leo putting an Italian sparkle on the menu, I  decided to try some pasta, which was melt in the mouth delicious. Consisting of red king prawns, tomatoes and pecorino cheese fused with gnocchetti shells, this was both comfort food and incredibly fresh- especially paired with dry white wine.

Enjoying the brasserie environment and low key DJ, we ordered Espresso Martinis, and even managed to tuck into desert! In fact, we spent over two hours lingering over our meal and were not in a rush to leave.

So if this is what it’s like in the evening, I can only imagine what the breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea are like! Opening daily at 10.30 in the week and 10 on the weekend, whether you need a break from shopping in Knightsbridge, an afternoon pick me up, a good spot for a lunch meeting of a romantic evening meal – go and try out the Maia Mood for yourself.

32-34 Hans Crescent

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